Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Health Care Expenditure Burden High in Adrenal Insufficiency

Patients with adrenal insufficiency may accrue substantial health care costs and have more hospital stays and outpatient visits compared with healthy controls, according to findings published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Candace Gunnarsson, PhD, vice president of health economics and outcomes research at CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting in Cincinnati, and colleagues evaluated data from a U.S.-based payer database on 10,383 patients with adrenal insufficiency to determine the estimated annual health care burden among them.

Participants were divided into groups based on their type of adrenal insufficiency: primary adrenal insufficiency (n = 1,014), adrenal insufficiency secondary to pituitary disease (n = 8,818) or congenital adrenal hyperplasia (n = 551). A group of matched controls was also evaluated for comparison.

Total annual health care expenditures were significantly higher in the primary adrenal insufficiency group ($18,624 vs. $4,320), adrenal insufficiency secondary to pituitary disease group ($32,218 vs. $6,956) and the congenital adrenal hyperplasia group ($7,677 vs. $4,203) compared with controls. The adrenal insufficiency secondary to pituitary disease group had the highest health care expenditure estimated with an incremental health care burden of $25,262, followed by the primary adrenal insufficiency group ($14,304) and the congenital adrenal hyperplasia group ($3,474).

Compared with controls, participants with adrenal insufficiency spent eight to 10 times more days in the hospital and had up to twice as many outpatient visits per year.

“When comparing [adrenal insufficiency] patients within each cohort based on their drug regimen, patients receiving prednisone therapy vs. hydrocortisone therapy had significantly higher total annual expenditures in the [primary adrenal insufficiency] and [congenital adrenal hyperplasia] and significantly lower total expenditures in the [pituitary disease] cohort,” the researchers wrote. “Patients taking only hydrocortisone and meeting the threshold of 50% adherence were found to have lower expenditures when medication adherence was 75% or higher.” – by Amber Cox

Disclosure: Gunnarsson reports being an employee of CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting. Please see the full study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lower health-related quality of life observed in patients with Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome

Patients with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulations report health-related quality of life that is far lower than that of the general population, according to findings of a prospective study.

“In most centers, both patients with adrenal deficiency and patients with Cushing’s syndrome are managed by the same team,” Charlotte De Bucy, of the Center for Rare Adrenal Diseases at Cochin Hospital in Paris, and colleagues wrote. “Despite the usual perception that both types of diseases alter quality of life, few studies have similarly investigated the impact of cortisol dysregulations on [health-related quality of life]. Such studies are important, however, to identify meaningful differences that would be important to consider to improve management and outcome.”
De Bucy and colleagues analyzed data from 343 patients with Addison’s disease or Cushing’s syndrome followed in routine practice at a single center in France between September 2007 and April 2014 (78% women; mean age, 48 years; mean length of time since diagnosis, 7.8 years; 61% married). All participants completed the short-form health survey (SF-36), a survey of health-related quality-of-life measures and the 12-item general health questionnaire (GHQ-12), a measure of psychological well-being or distress. Questionnaires were completed at baseline and at 6, 12, 24 and 36 months. Patients with Cushing’s syndrome were also assessed for cortisol status at baseline and at follow-up evaluations.
Within the cohort, 206 had Cushing’s syndrome of pituitary origin, 91 had Cushing’s syndrome of adrenal origin and 46 patients had Addison’s disease; 16% were included in the study before any treatment was initiated.
Researchers found that mean standard deviation scores for psychological and physical dimensions of the SF-36 were “well below” those of the general population, but diagnosis, cortisol status and time since treatment initiation all influenced individual scores. Cushing’s syndrome of pituitary origin was associated with worse health-related quality of life, especially for physical functioning, social functioning and mental health. In Cushing’s syndrome, health-related quality of life was generally worse during periods of hypercortisolism, but scores for these patients were lower than those of patients with Addison’s disease even during periods of hypocortisolism or eucortisolism, according to the researchers.
“The differences were particularly large for physical functioning and role-physical subscales,” the researchers wrote.
They also found that mental health scores for patients with Cushing’s syndrome decreased during periods of hypocortisolism, whereas other adrenal conditions were associated with higher mental health scores.
More than half of patients, regardless of diagnosis and cortisol status, had psychological distress requiring attention, according to the GHQ-12 survey.
“Our findings are important for clinical practice,” the researchers wrote. “The consequences of cortisol dysregulation on [health-related quality of life] should be considered in the management of adrenal insufficiency and even more (in) Cushing’s syndrome patients, and these consequences can be long term, affecting apparently cured patients. Early information on these consequences might be helpful for patients who often perceive a poor quality of life as the result of inadequate disease control or treatment. Even if this possibility exists, knowing that adrenal diseases have long-lasting effects on [health-related quality of life] may be helpful for patients to cope with them.” – by Regina Schaffer
Disclosure: L'association SurrĂ©nales supported this study. The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Action For Adrenal Disease

 
Watch online Saturday April 16 at 1:00 PM eastern at https://plus.google.com/events/cpjbd8celcbfgngp8und662s198?hl=en

Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison's Disease can be deadly, mostly because of the lack of education and awareness. We have lost too many and need to be proactive in preventing unnecessary deaths! Join us as we educate on what these diseases are, how easily they can become deadly and preventive measures we can all take to help this community. Brought to you by the National Adrenal Disease Foundation, with speakers who have personal experience with these diseases.

Our program will include:

Senior Administrator Nichole Klute Rushton••• of the Addison’s Disease Support Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/addisons.support/) on Facebook, will speak in detail about the unfortunate adrenal insufficient patients who have tragically passed, reminding us that the danger of loss of life is a reality for every person with adrenal insufficiency who doesn’t receive the vital hormones they need

Administrator Debby Hunter ••• of the Living With Addison's Disease Support on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/LivingWithAddisonsDisease/) who will give us tips on how we can approach our local emergency facilities and hospitals with information about adrenal insufficiency and its care in a crisis situation. She will also share her own personal experience with going through an adrenal crisis.

Deputy Sheriff Chris Spires••• who will speak on life as the husband of an Addison’s disease patient, and share with us how the law enforcement community views adrenal insufficient patients

Melanie Wong ••• National Adrenal Disease Foundation (http://www.NADF.us) Executive Director, who will speak about the recent tragic losses, and the vital importance of reminding the medical community about adrenal insufficiency, as well as NADF’s latest project to get NADF Adrenal Crisis Care posters displayed in every emergency room facility in the United States.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Adrenal Insufficiency Patients Require More Education on Adrenal Crisis

Greater efforts to educate patients with adrenal insufficiency and their families about prevention of adrenal crisis may be necessary, according to data presented at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 24th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress.
Additionally, the researchers, who looked at patients treated for adrenal insufficiency, found that many are not being adequately trained or equipped to deal with an adrenal crisis.
“These patients can crash and we are not doing enough to help prevent problems,” study investigator Nitika Malhotra, MD, endocrinologist in Lansing, Michigan, said. “We did this study because we think this is a big problem.”

Malhotra, who presented the study findings at the meeting, explained that patients with adrenal insufficiency are at risk for developing adrenal crisis, and it is now estimated that 8% of patients with adrenal insufficiency are hospitalized for adrenal crisis each year.
The problem, according to Malhotra, is that far too many patients are failing to receive crises prevention education. Moreover, they are not receiving emergency glucocorticoid kits.
“All of the families need to be taught and that is not happening,” Malhotra said in an interview with Endocrinology Advisor. “It will reduce the morbidity and mortality and the hospitalization, and it may improve the quality of life of patients too.”

For their study, Malhotra and her colleagues collected data from patients with adrenal insufficiency who were seen at a single institution between March 2009 and March 2014.
The investigators conducted a retrospective chart review and examined age, gender, causes of adrenal insufficiency, glucocorticoid dose, and monitoring for hyponatremia and hyperkalemia. They also looked at postural blood pressure, crises prevention education for glucocorticoid dose adjustments during stress, and whether patients had a Medic Alert ID or a parenteral glucocorticoid kit. 

The researchers identified 85 patients (29 males and 56 females) with adrenal insufficiency. Of these patients, 33 patients had primary adrenal insufficiency (38.8%) and 52 had secondary adrenal insufficiency (61.2%). The mean age of the patients was 55.8 years.
Among the 85 patients, 23 (27%) had postural blood pressures checked — five of whom were positive (21.7%). Seventy-seven patients (90.6%) were monitored for electrolytes, and 41 patients (48.2%) were on steroid doses above 20 mg per day.  

However, the researchers found that only 57 patients (67.1%) had received steroid dose adjustment instructions. In addition, only 29 patients (34.1%) had a Medic Alert ID, and only 17 patients (20%) were setup with emergency parenteral glucocorticoid kits.
Even though this study has many inherent limitations, Malhotra said, it appears that the preventive strategies for adrenal crisis in patients with adrenal insufficiency are not being consistently followed.

Patient education is paramount for achieving a successful prevention strategy for adrenal crisis, and endocrinologists have a responsibility to make sure that all patients with adrenal insufficiency have a Medic Alert ID and access to emergency glucocorticoid kits, according to Malhotra.

Furthermore, she said families should receive adequate education about parenteral steroid administration and steroid dose adjustments in stressful situations.

At her institution, Malhotra said, endocrinologists are introducing an automated electronic alert in their electronic medical records to determine if this electronic prompt will improve adherence.

Reference

  1. Malhotra N et al. Abstract #102. Presented at: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 24th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress; May 13-17, 2015; Nashville, Tenn.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Severe fatigue, decreased physical activity in patients with Addison’s disease


Dutch adults with primary adrenal insufficiency reported abnormal or severe fatigue, reduced physical activity and significantly reduced quality of life vs. healthy controls, according to recent survey results.

In a cross-sectional study, Eline S. van der Valk, MD, of Amphia Hospital in Breda, the Netherlands, and colleagues also found that patients with Addison’s disease reported physical activity levels that were significantly lower than those reported by other Dutch chronically ill patients.

“The clinical relevance of the impaired [quality of life] and increased fatigue found in our study is supported by the size of the differences in scores and the restriction in physical activity in patients with [Addison’s disease], an important activity in daily life,” the researchers wrote. “Physical inactivity could be very detrimental in [Addison’s disease] because the prevalence of other cardiovascular risk factors is already increased, and it has been demonstrated that patients with [Addison’s disease] have an up to twofold increased mortality rate from [CVDs].”

Researchers analyzed survey data from 328 Dutch adults with Addison’s disease on stable glucocorticoid replacement therapy with hydrocortisone or cortisone acetate (mean age, 53 years; 223 women; mean duration of disease after diagnosis, 15.6 years). Participants attended outpatient clinics at University Medical Center Utrecht and Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, or were members of the Dutch Association of Addison and Cushing Patients. They completed general and health-related quality of life (Short Form 36; Checklist Individual Strength) and physical activity questionnaires. Scores were compared with a random sample of 1,718 adults who completed a Dutch National Health Survey (controls).

Within the cohort, 53% of participants had isolated Addison’s disease; 74.1% received hydrocortisone therapy; 25.9% received cortisone acetate therapy; 87.2% received fludrocortisone therapy; and 23.2% received dehydroepiandrosterone replacement therapy.
Researchers found that 45.7% of participants with Addison’s disease met the standard of physical activity (Dutch standard of healthy physical exercise, defined as moderately intensive physical exercise for 30 minutes daily 5 days per week; “Fitnorm,” defined as 20 minutes of intensive physical exercise at least 3 days per week) vs. 67.8% of controls (P < .01). Researchers found 61% of participants with Addison’s disease reported abnormal fatigue, and 43% reported severe fatigue. Mean fatigue scores were significantly higher vs. controls (mean difference, 32.6; 95% CI, 24-41).

In both men and women with Addison’s disease, researchers found that quality of life scores in all component summaries were significantly decreased compared with controls, particularly in participants aged 65 years and younger. – by Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Addison's disease may cause psychosis, say researchers

adrenal-glands

Research suggests that chronic adrenal insufficiency, more commonly known as Addison's disease, may be responsible for psychiatric symptoms in those who suffer with it. Unfortunately, these symptoms are poorly understood and inadequately studied. In one case, a 41-year-old construction worker was admitted to a psychiatric clinic complaining of depression. He had trouble sleeping and concentrating and had lost 6 pounds due to a loss of appetite. He was placed on 20mg of fluoxetine but returned 2 weeks later complaining that the therapy did not work, and even reported hallucinating his ex-wife, who had recently died in a car accident. He returned again later 4 months later and was found to have a weak pulse, major hypotension, and hyponatremia and hyperkalemia. It was at this point that he was diagnosed with Addison's disease.
The disease was first described by Thomas Addison in the mddle of the 19th century. It involves inadequate secretion from the adrenal glands, leading to lower secretion of glucocorticoids. Its usual symptom pigmentation involves fatigue, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, weakness and abdominal pain. Among its psychiatric symptoms are psychosis and delirium.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Cushing's Awareness Day Challenge 2015

awareness
The Cushing's Awareness Challenge is almost upon us again!

Do you blog? Want to get started?

Since April 8 is Cushing's Awareness Day, several people got their heads together to create the Fourth Annual Cushing's Awareness Blogging Challenge.

All you have to do is blog about something Cushing's related for the 30 days of April.

There will also be a logo for your blog to show show you've participated.

Please let me know the URL to your blog in the comments area of this post or an email  and I will list it on CushieBloggers ( http://cushie-blogger.blogspot.com/)

The more people who participate, the more the word will get out about Cushing's.

Suggested topics - or add your own!
  • In what ways have Cushing's made you a better person?
  • What have you learned about the medical community since you have become sick?
  • If you had one chance to speak to an endocrinologist association meeting, what would you tell them about Cushing's patients?
  • What would you tell the friends and family of another Cushing's patient in order to garner more emotional support for your friend? challenge with Cushing's? How have you overcome challenges? Stuff like that.
  • I have Cushing's Disease....(personal synopsis)
  • How I found out I have Cushing's
  • What is Cushing's Disease/Syndrome? (Personal variation, i.e. adrenal or pituitary or ectopic, etc.)
  • My challenges with Cushing's
  • Overcoming challenges with Cushing's (could include any challenges)
  • If I could speak to an endocrinologist organization, I would tell them....
  • What would I tell others trying to be diagnosed?
  • What would I tell families of those who are sick with Cushing's?
  • Treatments I've gone through to try to be cured/treatments I may have to go through to be cured.
  • What will happen if I'm not cured?
  • I write about my health because…
  • 10 Things I Couldn’t Live Without.
  • My Dream Day.
  • What I learned the hard way
  • Miracle Cure. (Write a news-style article on a miracle cure. What’s the cure? How do you get the cure? Be sure to include a disclaimer)
  • Health Madlib Poem. Go to : http://languageisavirus.com/cgi-bin/madlibs.pl#.VPGZQlPF9A8 and fill in the parts of speech and the site will generate a poem for you.
  • The Things We Forget. Visit http://thingsweforget.blogspot.com/ and make your own version of a short memo reminder. Where would you post it?
  • Give yourself, your condition, or your health focus a mascot. Is it a real person? Fictional? Mythical being? Describe them. Bonus points if you provide a visual!
  • 5 Challenges & 5 Small Victories.
  • The First Time I…
  • Make a word cloud or tree with a list of words that come to mind when you think about your blog, health, or interests. Use a thesaurus to make it branch more.
  • How much money have you spent on Cushing's, or, How did Cushing's impact your life financially?
  • Why do you think Cushing's may not be as rare as doctors believe?
  • What is your theory about what causes Cushing's?
  • How has Cushing's altered the trajectory of your life? What would you have done? Who would you have been
  • What three things has Cushing's stolen from you? What do you miss the most? What can you do in your Cushing's life to still achieve any of those goals?
  • What new goals did Cushing's bring to you?
  • How do you cope?
  • What do you do to improve your quality of life as you fight Cushing's?
  • Your thoughts...?

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Exophthalmos and Cushing's Syndrome

A woman experienced red, irritated and bulging eyes. She saw an ophthalmologist who strongly suspected Graves’ ophthalmopathy. However, the patient did not have and never had hyperthyroidism.
Indeed, she had primary hypothyroidism optimally treated with levothyroxine. Her thyroid stimulating hormone level was 1.197 uIU/mL.
An MRI of the orbits showed normal extraocular muscles without thickening, but there was mild proptosis and somewhat increased intraorbital fat content. Both thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins as well as thyrotropin receptor antibodies were negative.
The patient presented to her primary care physician a few months later. She had experienced a 40-lb weight gain over only a few months and also had difficult-to-control blood pressure.
After failing to respond to several antihypertensive medications, her primary care physician astutely decided to evaluate for secondary causes of hypertension. A renal ultrasound was ordered to evaluate for renal artery stenosis, and the imaging identified an incidental right-sided adrenal mass. A CT confirmed a 3.4-cm right-sided adrenal mass. Her morning cortisol was slightly high at 24.7 ug/dL (4.3 – 22.4) and her adrenocorticotropic hormone was slightly low at 5 pg/mL (10-60).
At this point I saw the patient in consultation. She definitely had many of the expected clinical exam findings of Cushing’s syndrome, including increased fat deposition to her abdomen, neck, and supraclavicular areas, as well as striae. Her 24-hour urine cortisol was markedly elevated at 358 mcg/24hrs (< 45) confirming our suspicions.
She asked me, “Do you think that my eye problem could be related to this?”
“I’ve not heard of it before,” I replied, “but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a connection. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your eyes got better after surgery?”
The patient underwent surgery to remove what fortunately turned out to be a benign adrenal adenoma.
When we saw her in follow-up 2 weeks later, her blood pressures were normal off medication and her eye symptoms had improved. I had a medical student rotating with me, so I suggested that we do a PubMed literature search.
The first article to come up was a case report titled “Exophthalmos: A Forgotten Clinical Sign of Cushing’s Syndrome.” Indeed, not only did Harvey Cushing describe this clinical finding in his original case series in 1932, but others have reported that up to 45% of patients with active Cushing’s syndrome have exophthalmos.
The cause is uncertain but is theorized to be due to increased intraorbital fat deposition. Unlike exophthalmos due to thyroid disease, the orbital muscles are relatively normal — just as they were with our patient.
Some of you may have seen exophthalmos in your Cushing’s patients; however, this was the first time I had seen it. Just because one has not heard of something, does not mean it could never happen; no one knows everything. “When in doubt, look it up” is a good habit for both attending physicians and their students.
For more information:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Jersey Ambulances Carrying Solu-Cortef


The New Jersey Department of Health passed a waiver in October of last year that allows ambulances to carry Solu- Cortef, for the purposes of treating an adrenal crisis. As a result, New Jersey ambulances can be better prepared to treat adrenal insufficiency.

This news was brought to NADF by Karen Fountain of the CARES Foundation, who has been helping push state health directors to accept protocols to help treat adrenal insufficient patients during an emergency.

Adrenal insufficient people in New Jersey should contact their local EMS to make them aware of the waiver, and encourage them to carry Solu-Cortef in their ambulances.

The hope is that other states, and eventually the entire country and beyond, will start having their ambulances carry the needed medication to treat adrenal crisis.

http://www.nadf.us

Monday, June 23, 2014

Diagnosing and Treating Cortisol Excess and Deficiency

Chicago, IL - June 21, 2014

A phase 2 study of Chronocort®, a modified release formulation of hydrocortisone, in the treatment of adults with classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia
A Mallappa, L-A Daley, N Sinaii, C Van Ryzin, H Huatan, D Digweed, D Eckland, M Whitaker, LK Nieman, RJ Ross, DP Merke

Summary: Classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency is characterized by cortisol and aldosterone deficiency and androgen excess. Current conventional glucocorticoid therapy is suboptimal as it cannot replace the normal cortisol circadian rhythm and inadequate or inappropriate suppression of adrenal androgens are common. In the preliminary results of a phase 2 study of Chronocort®, a modified release hydrocortisone capsule formulation, researchers found that Chronocort®, a novel modified release hydrocortisone capsule formulation, approximates physiological cortisol secretion, and improves biochemical control of CAH. Further analyses are underway.
Methods:
  • The study objectives were to characterize pharmacokinetics and examine disease control following 6 months dose titration.
  • Serial profiling was obtained at baseline (conventional glucocorticoid) and every 2 months.
  • Twice-daily Chronocort® was initiated: 20 mg at 2300 h, 10 mg at 0700 h.
  • Dose titration was based on clinical status and optimal hormonal ranges (17OHP 300-1200 ng/dL, normal androstenedione (males: 40-150, females: 30-200 ng/dL), with androstenedione prioritized.
  • Chronocort® cortisol pharmacokinetic profile was the primary endpoint.
  • Secondary endpoints included biomarkers of disease control.
Results:
  • A total of 16 adults (8 females; age 29 ±13 years) with classic CAH (12 salt-wasting, 4 simple virilizing) participated.
  • Conventional therapy varied (5 dexamethasone, 7 prednisone, 4 hydrocortisone).
  • Chronocort® cortisol pharmacokinetic profile approximated physiological cortisol secretion.
  • Ten patients required Chronocort® dose adjustments (decrease in 8, increase in 2; mean hydrocortisone equivalent dose conventional vs 6 months: 16.1 ± 6.4 vs 14.7 ± 6.4 mg/m2).
  • Serial androstenedione levels were in the normal range in 8 (50%) of patients on conventional therapy compared with 12 (75%) on Chronocort® at 6 months.
  • The majority of patients on Chronocort® achieved 17O HP levels within the normal range, rather than within the mildly elevated range currently used for management.
  • At 6 months, Chronocort® resulted in lower 24-hr (P=0.02), morning (0700-1500; P=0.008), and afternoon (1500-2300; P=0.03) area-under-the-curve androstenedione compared with conventional therapy.
  • No serious adverse events occurred.
  • Common adverse events were headache, fatigue, early awakening, and anemia.
  • Three patients had unexpected carpal tunnel syndrome, which resolved with wrist splints.
From http://www.mdlinx.com/endocrinology/conference-abstract.cfm/ZZ5BA369FDE9DE4CED82CB6A7CD5BFD1BE/16521/?utm_source=confcoveragenl&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_content=abstract-list&utm_campaign=abstract-ICE/EN2014&nonus=0#